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Climate change: processes, characteristics and threats Climate change: processes, characteristics and threats
Most people have heard about climate change, they might even express a real concern about it, but how many would actually consider it a threat? Because the changes can be slow and sometimes difficult to identify within the normal variation of climatic conditions, many of us think they will not affect our lives. However, some parts of the world are already being severely affected by climatic change – both the people and the environment. And unfort...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Mitigating climate change: cost in 2050 (out of GDP) Mitigating climate change: cost in 2050 (out of GDP)
Global average GDP might be reduced by 1–4% if we reduce the emissions of CO2 so that we stabilize the concentration in the atmosphere at 450 ppmv. In 2003 the concentration was 375 ppmv. If we stabilise at higher concentration levels, the GDP reduction will be less. The projected mitigation scenarios do not take into account potential benefits of avoided climate change. Cost-effectiveness studies with a century time scale estimate that the mit...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Sensitivity, adaptability and vulnerability Sensitivity, adaptability and vulnerability
Sensitivity is the degree to which a system is affected, either adversely or beneficially, by climate-related stimuli. Climate-related stimuli encompass all the elements of climate change, including mean climate characteristics, climate variability, and the frequency and magnitude of extremes. The effect may be direct (e.g., a change in crop yield in response to a change in the mean, range or variability of temperature) or indirect (e.g., damages...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Annual cycle of light in the Northern Arctic Annual cycle of light in the Northern Arctic
The Arctic is often described as a place of utter darkness or white snow in winter and of midnight sun during the summertime. In fact, there are few places on Earth where the sun displays so much variation in colour due to the low angle of the sun reflected on the mountains, snow and sky over long periods of time. North of the Arctic Circle the sun disappears during winter for days to months, depending upon latitude, leaving the sky in a palette ...
17 May 2005 - by Beatrice Collignon, Sorbonne University
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Major global bird migration routes to the Arctic Major global bird migration routes to the Arctic
Bird species that migrate to the Arctic coasts and wetlands arrive from nearly every corner of the planet. During the summer, the sun never or nearly never sets, resulting in a short but intensive breeding season when millions of migratory birds arrive in the Arctic to breed. The majority of these birds seek the wetlands and coastal shores of the tundra plains. No other place on Earth receives so many migratory species from nearly all corners of...
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Impact of Sea Level Rise in Banjul, Gambia Impact of Sea Level Rise in Banjul, Gambia
Climate change is expected to cause a rise in sea level. Sea level rise will have a significant impact on coastal areas, especially coastal megacities such as Banjul, the Gambia. This graphic shows the expected sea level rise in metres for various parts of the city of Banjul, and the impacts of sea level rise on the city, its suburbs and main roads and its nearby mangrove swamps, which serve as spawning grounds for fish.
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Factors influencing the greenhouse effect Factors influencing the greenhouse effect
There are three main factors that directly influence the energy balance of the earth: the total energy influx, which depends on the earth's distance from the sun and on solar activity; the chemical composition of the atmosphere, and albedo, the ability of the earth's surface to reflect light. The only factor that has changed significantly in the last 100 years is the chemical composition of the atmosphere. This resource also includes a graphic th...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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In the Grip of Malaria in Africa In the Grip of Malaria in Africa
There is increasing evidence that climate change has a significant role in causing malaria epidemics. As climatic conditions change, the locations of suitable breeding habitats for the mosquitoes that transmit malaria and other diseases will change. This graphic shows the locations of malaria-free areas, malaria transmission areas and the areas in which malaria has largely been eliminated in Africa, as of 2002.
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Population and development in Africa Population and development in Africa
As population increases, so does the demand for natural resources. This graphic shows how the world's population distribution has changed since 1750 (in 50-year increments), with projections for 2050 and 2150. It also shows how Africa's population and the world's population have increased since 1750, with projected data to the year 2150. The figures are based on an index of 100 in the year 1750.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Changing Biomes in South Africa Changing Biomes in South Africa
Predictions of the effects of climate change on natural ecosystems in South Africa, over the medium to long term, have included reduced spatial extent of the Grassland biome (Ellery et al. 1991) and an increase in the extent of the Desert biome (Macdonald & Midgley 1996). This graphic shows how the Grassland Biome is expected to shrink as surrounding biomes expand their ranges. It also shows how increasingly arid conditions in the Northern Cape r...
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Melting snow on Kilimanjaro Melting snow on Kilimanjaro
At the February 2001 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), researchers reported dramatic changes in the volume of ice capping the Kibo summit of Kilimanjaro.This graphic shows the estimated extent of the glacier on Mount Kilimanjaro in 1912, and the extent of the glaciers there in 2002. The graphic also shows the decline in the total area of the ice from 1900 to 2000, with projected data to the year 2020.
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Freshwater resources Freshwater resources
Access to water is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for sustainable development in Africa. This resource includes three graphics. The first shows the average annual freshwater withdrawal, in cubic metres per capita per year, at the national level for Africa. The second graphic shows the annual volume of water resources, in cubic kilometres, that each continent has, based on the average of figures from 1921 to 1985. The final graphic shows t...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Malnutrition and Famine Malnutrition and Famine
Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa face chronic malnutrition, with frequent famine episodes. This graphic shows the locations of areas in Africa which face chronic malnutrition (less than 2300 calories per day and per capita, 1995-1997), areas which are affected by food shortages, the main areas that have experienced famines during the last thirty years (approximately 1966 to 1996) and the locations of the main conflicts that occurred in Africa...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Food Production Index Food Production Index
Per capita food production is declining in Africa, but it is increasing steadily in the world as a whole. This graphic shows the net food production per capita (PIN base 1989-1991) for Africa and for the world for the time period 1961 to 2001.
17 May 2005 - by Digout, Delphine, based on a sketch by Philippe Rekacewicz; UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Impact of Temperature Rise on Tea in Kenya Impact of Temperature Rise on Tea in Kenya
Increasing temperatures will likely affect major crops such as tea in Kenya. Major impacts on food production will come from changes in temperature, moisture levels, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, CO2 levels, and pests and diseases. This graphic shows the current locations of tea-growing areas in Kenya, and how some of these areas are expected to become less suitable for tea-growing if there is a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius.
17 May 2005 - by Otto Simonett, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Water availability in Africa Water availability in Africa
Water resources are inextricably linked with climate, so the prospect of global climate change has serious implications for water resources and regional development (Riebsame et al., 1995). This graphic shows water availability per capita in cubic metres for selected countries in Africa in 1990, with projected data for 2025. It also shows which countries were affected by water stress, water scarcity and water vulnerability in 1990, with projected...
17 May 2005 - by Digout, Delphine, based on a sketch by Philippe Rekacewicz; UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Climate change in Zimbabwe: trends in temperature and rainfall Climate change in Zimbabwe: trends in temperature and rainfall
Zimbabwe is experiencing more hot days and fewer cold days, and the amount of precipitation it receives is deviating from the mean more frequently. This resource includes two graphics. The first shows the number of days with a minimum temperature of 12 degrees Celsius and the number of days with a minimum temperature of 30 degrees Celsius from 1950 to 1990. The second graphic shows the amount of precipitation in millimetres that was a departure f...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Aridity Zones Aridity Zones
Forty percent of Africa's population lives in arid, semi-arid, and dry subhumid areas. Climate change may lead to an increase in arid zones that are susceptible to drought. This graphic shows the locations of humid, moist subhumid, dry subhumid, semi-arid, arid and hyper-arid areas in Africa.
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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People Affected by Natural Disasters During the Period 1971 to 2001 People Affected by Natural Disasters During the Period 1971 to 2001
Natural disasters are increasing in number and frequency, and affect most countries in Africa. This graphic shows the amounts of people, in millions, who were affected by drought, by famine, by flood and by epidemics related to [natural] disasters in Africa for the period 1971 to 2001.
17 May 2005 - by Digout, Delphine, based on a sketch by Philippe Rekacewicz; UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Climate change vulnerability in Africa Climate change vulnerability in Africa
Multiple stresses make most of Africa highly vulnerable to environmental changes, and climate change is likely to increase this vulnerability. This graphic shows which of the regions of Africa (North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean Islands) are most vulnerable to specific impacts of climate change. These impacts include desertification, sea level rise, reduced freshwater availability,...
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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